Microsoft, one of the global leaders in AI innovation, has announced a bold initiative to equip 2 million people in India with AI skills by 2025. The initiative, called ADVANTA(I)GE INDIA, is part of Microsoft’s Skills for Jobs program, which is designed to empower India’s workforce with future-ready skills.
The initiative is also aligned with Microsoft’s responsible AI principles, and training will be delivered in partnership with governments, nonprofit and corporate organizations, and communities.
Why India needs AI skills
India is a country of 1.3 billion people, with a young and dynamic population and a growing economy. India also has a huge opportunity to be a global leader in AI.
However, India also faces some challenges in realizing its AI potential. According to Microsoft’s recent Work Trend Index, 90 percent of Indian leaders say the people the new hire will need AI skills to prepare them for the growth of AI. Furthermore, 78 percent of Indian workers say they don’t have the right AI capabilities to complete their current work.
To address this needs gap, India needs to invest in creating AI fluency at scale, especially for the people in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, as well as rural areas, who may not have access to quality education and training opportunities.
How Microsoft is helping India achieve AI fluency by ADVANTA(I)GE INDIA
Microsoft has a long history of supporting India’s digital transformation, with initiatives such as Digital India, Skill India, and Startup India.
Now, Microsoft is taking its commitment to the next level, by launching the ADVANTA (I)GE INDIA initiative, which aims to democratize access to AI skills across the nation. The initiative has three main components:
-Partnering with the national government and 10 states to train 500,000 students at rural vocational centers in basic and advanced AI skills. This expands an existing collaboration on digital and cybersecurity training.
-Providing in-depth AI training for 100,000 young women through higher education institutions in smaller cities. This involves distributing Microsoft’s AI Trainer Toolkit and industry mentorships.
-Raising AI career awareness for 400,000 students in remote, tribal areas through Microsoft’s TEALS, Farm Beats and AI Guidance for Schools initiatives.
Additionally, Microsoft will help 250,000 government officers gain generative AI knowledge to deliver next-gen citizen services. It will also convene a summit for 2,500 nonprofits to leverage AI in their work, with LinkedIn.
What Can We Expect from ADVANTA(I)GE INDIA
Apart from the initiative, Microsoft has some more plans to help India achieve its AI fluency:
-It will create new, free coursework developed with LinkedIn, including the first Professional Certificate on Generative AI in the online learning market.
Generative AI is a branch of AI that can create new content, such as images, text, or music, based on existing data.
-It will launch a new open global grant challenge in coordination with data.org to uncover new ways of training workers on generative AI. Data.org is a platform for partnerships that aims to build the field of data science for social impact.
-Through the ADVANTA (I)GE INDIA initiative, Microsoft will help bridge the digital divide and gender gap in India, by providing equal opportunities and access to AI skills for people from marginalized and underrepresented groups, such as rural, tribal, and women populations.
The ADVANTA (I)GE INDIA initiative is a significant step towards creating AI fluency for 2 million Indians by 2025. Moreover, it reflects Microsoft’s deep commitment to enabling inclusive growth with technology, and its vision of empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
As Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, said at a conference in Mumbai, “I hope consensus emerges and that is what really helps, in some sense, (with) the diffusion of this technology,” referring to global efforts to regulate AI.
India has a unique opportunity to shape its own AI future, and Microsoft is ready to help. Together, we can make India a global leader in AI, and a force for good in the world.